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Trade: African banana farmers fear being brought down by Brexit

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Thursday, 13 September 2018

Trade: African banana farmers fear being brought down by Brexit

The UK currently accounts for 20 percent of the EU’s banana market, leaving African producers concerned that London will opt to import cheaper American banana after Brexit. Britons consume around 1.1 million metric tons of bananas a year, according to African banana lobby Afruibana. There is ongoing negotiations about how the EU and UK could divide food import quotas after Brexit. However, there are concerns a decision to transfer EU deals across the remaining 27 member states. This would increase the supply and create competition for the African producers in the European markets. Huub Van Den Broke, managing director of Ghanian banana firm Volta River Estates, claimed 90 percent of his company’s produce go to the UK and Brexit is a concern. He added there is hope that Britain will chose to favour its Commonwealth partners. Mr Van Den Broke, said: “Any production they can give me, I would love.” Brussels attempts to complete trade deals with Latin America’s biggest banana producers have seen transatlantic imports into Europe soar over recent years. Amid the migration crisis and the European Commission’s eagerness to build closer ties with African governments, the continent’s farmers are warning the bloc not to undermine their financial stability. They believe Brussels is turning a blind eye on African markets while looking elsewhere for cheaper imports, including bananas. Cameroonian banana lobby ASSOBACAM said: “Europe must not fall into the trap of double talk, in saying publicly that it wants Africa as a long-term strategic partner on the one hand, but on the other: endangering the development of our agricultural sector. “That risks the destabilisation of our rural regions, the disappearance of thousands of jobs and the creation of vast pockets of poverty and migration.”

Source: express.co.uk